I find the ending to Metamorphosis to be satisfying because it wraps up the story nicely. It also leaves room for interpretation, which I enjoy. Some readers may find the ending to be open-ended and unsatisfying, but I think it’s a great way to end the story.
At first view, the final four pages of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis appear to be meaningless. However, this assumption is incorrect. Although they may appear to be unimportant, the last four pages serve as an illustration of how the Samsa family changes as a consequence of Gregor Samsa’s death. The changes in the household are best illustrated in two contrasting scenes: an encounter at the kitchen table and a ride on the trolley.
For example, “Grete… buttering herself a piece of bread…produced the knife herself” (Kafka 145). This change is also seen when Mrs. Samsa offers to make breakfast for her husband and children, something she would have never done before Gregor’s death.
In addition, Grete takes on more responsibilities around the house and even teaches her younger sister how to knit. The second scene, on the trolley, further shows how the family has changed since Gregor’s death. They are all going out together for the first time in years and they are all happy. Even though Gregor is dead, he has given his family the best gift possible: he has given them their life back.
The ending of Metamorphosis is therefore very satisfying, as it shows the positive changes that have come out of a tragic event. It is a reminder that sometimes, good can come from bad.
The letter “letters of excuse” that the children wrote after their daring act of asserting personal freedom is a clear illustration of their newfound self-reliance. The family relied entirely on Gregor’s financial support and had few obligations before his death. Kafka puts it this way when he says, “They [Gregor’s parents] had formed the belief that Gregor was set for life in his business . . . they were so preoccupied with their immediate concerns that they had lost all thought for the future,” (17).
Thus, the ending can be seen as satisfying because it is a symbol of the family’s rebirth. They have finally broken away from Gregor’s controlling presence and are now able to fend for themselves. In this way, Gregor’s death was not entirely meaningless as it allowed his family to grow and develop into independent individuals.
Many readers may find the ending of Metamorphosis to be rather abrupt and unfinished. However, upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that Kafka deliberately ended the story in this way in order to emphasize the new beginning that Gregor’s family has embarked on. Their decision to move out of their apartment and start anew is representative of the changes they have gone through over the course of the story.
Taking the initiative and writing to their employers, Gregor’s family demonstrates that they are no longer reliant on him. The conversation at the kitchen table continues to shed light when Mr. Samsa informs his wife that he will fire the cleaning lady (17). Mr. Samsa’s decision to terminate the cleaning lady shows that he has changed and is willing to accept responsibility. Grete (Gregor’s sister) and Mrs. Samsa also demonstrate changing by not opposing Mr. Samsa’s decision to dismiss the cleaning lady. Firing the cleaning lady was another step toward change from before, in retrospect
In this scene, Mrs. Samsa is on her way to visit her daughter and she has second thoughts about bringing apples for Gregor (18). These apples represent Mrs. Samsa carrying on the tradition of caring for Gregor, even though he is now a beetle. In addition, by wanting to bring apples for Gregor, Mrs. Samsa is admitting that Gregor is still part of the family.
The final scene that reveals the changes in the family is the scene where Grete plays the violin (19). This activity was something that Gregor enjoyed listening to before he was transformed. However, once he was transformed, Grete gave up playing the violin because Gregor could no longer appreciate it. Now that Gregor is gone, Grete has taken up playing the violin again. This scene represents how Grete has also changed and no longer needs Gregor in her life to be happy.
The ending of Metamorphosis is ultimately satisfying because it reveals the positive changes that have occurred within Gregor’s family. Prior to Gregor’s transformation, his family was completely dependent on him. They were not able to take care of themselves and it was only through Gregor’s hard work that they were able to live comfortably. However, after Gregor’s transformation, his family is forced to take care of themselves and they are actually better off without him.
They have all grown as individuals and they are now able to take responsibility for their own lives. In addition, the ending is also satisfying because it shows how Gregor’s family has come to accept him for who he is. They no longer see him as a human being, but they still see him as part of the family. They are even able to find happiness without him and this ultimately leads to a happy ending for all involved.
In this passage, Kafka exposes the family’s future plans as well as significant changes in Grete. He also emphasizes that they have not left the apartment together “in months” (58). Their transition to independence is again demonstrated by their plan to acquire a smaller and less expensive home. Kafka’s comments regarding Grete demonstrate another sort of transformation. Grete matured both physically and mentally throughout the turmoil surrounding Gregor.
She went from a “lanky girl of no particular account” (58) to a woman with an “admirable figure” and “a fair share of intelligence” (58). The final paragraphs of Metamorphosis emphasize the changes that took place within the family, as well as hint at the possibility for further change.
While some may not find the ending of Metamorphosis satisfying, I believe that it is a fitting end to the story. It shows the growth and development of the family, as well as Grete’s metamorphosis into a young woman. The ending also leaves room for interpretation, which I enjoy.